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Opening Event: Undying Traditions – Memento Mori
September 12, 2019 @ 5:30 pm
The Muskegon Museum of Art presents “Undying Traditions: Memento Mori” this fall, bringing together work by artists from across the United States currently exploring themes of death and earthly pleasure. The exhibition includes paintings, photography, and sculpture and runs September 12, 2019 through January 5, 2020.
The exhibition opens with a public reception on Thursday, September 12 at 5:30pm with a lecture by Art Martin at 7:00pm. Event admission is free.
Featured Artists: Landis Blair, David Cahill, Robert Steven Connett, David Gluck, Kate MacDowell, Jeanette May, Chris Peters, Daniel Sprick, Katherine Stone, Paulette Tavormina, Maria Tomasula, and Will Wilson.
Memento mori (which translates to “remember death”) is a Medieval Latin Christian philosophy that encourages reflection on mortality, on the inevitability of death, and the transience of mortal pleasures and accomplishments. The memento mori is typically expressed through the still life, incorporating the human skull with various symbols of time and decay. This tradition includes the danse macabre, a skeletal Death dancing away with the rich and poor alike, and the vanitas, a memento mori that depicts objects associated with physical pleasures such as musical instruments and food. In the Christian tradition, memento mori artworks were intended to remind the viewer that their death was assured and their focus should thus be on the spiritual and not the earthly.
MMA Director of Collections and Exhibitions/Senior Curator Art Martin comments, “Contemporary artists continue to explore this rich tradition in images that strongly reference their precursors. Skulls and flowers continue to fascinate artist and viewer alike. From intricate painting, to photography, to sculpture, these artists offer us insights into our collective fascination with death.”
Program support is provided, in part, through a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the arts. For more information call 231-720-2570.